A portion of Route 94 in the Village of Florida was a center of manufacturing from the mid-1700s to the early 1900s. This section was called Randallville. Remnants of a number of houses, stone foundations, a distillery and a cemetery remain while the blacksmith shop and the cider mill are gone.
In the early 18th century there were two mills operating at the western portion of Randleville at Silva Glen, one for grinding grain and another for processing wool. John Randle, along with other early settlers of the area, built the millpond in order to harvest power, to turn the waterwheels, from Quaker Creek, which flowed from Thompson’s Pond now called Glenmere Lake. Randle’s son, William, and his grandson, Jesse, ran both mills.
The eastern portion was the Mill in the Glen, purchased in 1991 by Gary and Kathy Randall, Gary is a descendant of the Randle family. The mill was built in the late 18th century and enlarged in 1830. The Mill in the Glen also included the millhouse, which was built in 1790 and enlarged in 1848, in a picturesque Italianate-style house, and the mill building which was built in the 18th century and enlarged in 1830.
In the late 18th century, William operated a sawmill and a gristmill at the Mill in the Glen. A second millpond was built to power the waterwheels.
On this site is also a house, box-like in shape it has a low, hipped roof and broad-bracketed eaves. The ground floor is divided into two major rooms - one has a large cooking fireplace with a pot crane and a bake oven. The middle floor has matching parlors and a wide staircase with walnut balusters lead to the top floor.
In 1841 Jesse’s son, Culver Randel, used a new addition that was added onto the mill, to the left of the portion that still exists, to manufacture pianofortes, furniture, architectural elements and necessities for daily living. He had spent some time apprenticing with a piano manufacturer in New York City as a younger man, married the manufacturer's daughter, Silvia Provost, and decided to give the pianoforte business a try in his hometown. Randle pianofortes are known to still exist, one resides in the millhouse.
Today the middle section is all that remains of the mill and Gary has opened an antique business within its walls. However, the original timber framing, plank flooring and some of its original machinery remain.
The Florida Historical Society contributed to this article. flhistoricalsociety.com.
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